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Home Classic Movies Hitchcock San Francisco + Kim Novak at Cannes + Warner Bros. Humorous Movie Outtakes

Hitchcock San Francisco + Kim Novak at Cannes + Warner Bros. Humorous Movie Outtakes

Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock ca. 1960.

Alfred Hitchcock San Francisco: Guided tour through the sites of Hitchcock’s movies

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival has arranged for San Francisco City Guides to lead “a special, SFSFF-only edition” of its “Alfred Hitchcock’s San Francisco” guided walking tour. This particular two-hour Hitchcock tour will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, atop Nob Hill. From there, the tour will visit the sites of three Hitchcock films: Vertigo, The Birds, and Family Plot.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival press release adds that Alfred Hitchcock tour participants will “have plenty of time” to go from the tour’s end at Union Square to the Castro Theatre so as to catch the 1:00 pm screening of Hitchcock’s 1928 silent Champagne.

Note: Space for this special “Alfred Hitchcock’s San Francisco” tour is limited. Registration is free – though donations are encouraged – and will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve your spot, click here and fill out the registration form.

Alfred Hitchcock movies: Vertigo, The Birds, Family Plot

Vertigo (1958), for all it’s worth (currently) considered the “greatest movie ever made” by Sight & Sound‘s pollsters, was both a critical and box office disappointment upon its release. James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes star.

The Birds (1963), not exactly a critical favorite but a box office success all the same, features Alfred Hitchcock discovery Tippi Hedren (who in recent years has accused the director of being a vengeful control freak who sexually harassed her), Rod Taylor, Suzanne Pleshette, Jessica Tandy, and Veronica Cartwright.

Family Plot (1976), which turned out to be Hitchcock’s last feature film, stars William Devane (replacing Roy Thinnes), Karen Black, Golden Globe nominee Barbara Harris, and Bruce Dern. Of note: Family Plot reunited Hitchcock with screenwriter Ernest Lehman, with whom the director had had a serious falling out during the making of North by Northwest after Lehman turned down Hichcock’s offer to write the screenplay for the (eventually never made) film project No Bail for the Judge, which was to have starred Audrey Hepburn and Laurence Harvey.

The 2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival will kick off on Jun 14, with a screening of Hitchcock’s 1929 murder thriller Blackmail, starring Anny Ondra and John Longden.

Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer photo via the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013 website.

Alfred Hitchcock photo via San Francisco City Guides.

2013 Best Animated Feature winner Brave movie image: Pixar / Disney Enterprises.

Kim Novak Vertigo
Kim Novak in Vertigo.

Kim Novak attending Cannes ‘Vertigo’ screening

Kim Novak will be in attendance at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, festival organizers have announced. Novak will be present at a Cannes Classics screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 psychological thriller Vertigo, which has been recently restored. For all it’s worth, Vertigo was the top movie at the most recent (2012) Sight & Sound decennial poll of film critics and filmmakers.

Vertigo was also a source of controversy in early 2012, when Kim Novak took out an ad in one of the trade publications claiming she felt she had been violated (“I want to report a rape”) after finding bits from Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo music in Ludovic Bource’s eventually Oscar-winning The Artist score.

Besides the Vertigo screening, Kim Novak will also be a presenter at Cannes’ closing ceremony on Sunday, May 26. According to the festival’s press release, Novak first attended Cannes in 1959, for the presentation of Delbert Mann’s May-December romantic drama Middle of the Night, co-starring Fredric March.

Kim Novak movies

Besides Vertigo and Middle of the Night, Kim Novak’s other key movies include Joshua Logan’s Best Picture Academy Award nominee Picnic (1955), co-starring William Holden and Rosalind Russell; Mark Robson’s Judy Holliday-Jack Lemmon comedy Phffft (1955), which gave Novak the chance to display her flair for comedy; and George Sidney’s musical Pal Joey (1957), as one of two beautiful women – Rita Hayworth was the other – in (undeserving) singer Frank Sinatra’s life.

Starring Tyrone Power, the musical biopic The Eddy Duchin Story (1956) was a huge hit, while George Sidney’s biopic Jeanne Eagels (1957), though less popular, provided Novak with the opportunity to go dramatic.

Also of note are Richard Quine’s Bell, Book and Candle (1958), with Kim Novak as a witch, and Quine’s melodrama Strangers When We Meet (1960), in which she has an adulterous affair with Kirk Douglas.

Also of note: Billy Wilder’s comedy Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), co-starring Ray Walston and Dean Martin, which was much criticized upon its release but that has since found a devoted following; Robert Aldrich’s Sunset Blvd.-like The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968), with Peter Finch and Ernest Borgnine; and, for sheer weirdness, David Hemmings’ Nazi era-set Just a Gigolo, a 1978 mess of a movie that’s a must-see thanks to its cast: Novak, David Bowie, Sydne Rome, Curd Jürgens, Maria Schell, and Marlene Dietrich.

Kim Novak today

Kim Novak, who turned 80 last February 13, currently spends much of her time painting and enjoying nature (and her llama herd) in her Oregon ranch. Her last appearance in front of the camera was in Mike Figgis’ Liebestraum (1991), which, according to her, wasn’t exactly a great experience: “Ah, same old Hollywood. I don’t need this.”

Kim Novak quote via The Telegraph.

Kim Novak Vertigo image via the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Much Ado About Nothing Joss Whedon Nathan Fillion
Much Ado About Nothing with Nathan Fillion.

Joss Whedon Much Ado About Nothing: Oscars Outdoors film series

Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing will kick off the 2013 “Oscars Outdoors” summer movie season on Wednesday, June 5 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ open-air theater in Hollywood. Much Ado About Nothing stars Amy Acker (Alias), Alexis Denisoff (How I Met Your Mother), Clark Gregg (Iron Man), Nathan Fillion (Waitress, Castle), Fran Kranz (Cabin in the Woods) and Sean Maher (The Playboy Club), all of whom are expected to join The Avengers director Joss Whedon for a post-screening Q&A moderated by KCRW’s Matt Holzman.

Oscars Outdoors screening films also include two upcoming releases: Morgan Neville’s documentary about backup singers, Twenty Feet from Stardom (June 6), and Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Fellow Destin Cretton’s relationship drama Short Term 12 (July 20), featuring Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2‘s Rami Malek.

Oscars Outdoors.

Oscars Outdoors classics: From ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’ to ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’

Among the various classics, semi-classics, and curiosities that are part of the Oscars Outdoors schedule are the Robert Aldrich-directed Bette Davis / Joan Crawford sleeper hit What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962); Ernest B. Schoedscack and Merian C. Cooper’s 1933 blockbuster King Kong, starring Fay Wray and Willis H. O’Brien’s stop-motion-animated ape; Pedro Almodóvar’s brilliant Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), with Carmen Maura and Antonio Banderas; and Harold Lloyd’s classic silent comedy Safety Last (1923).

Here are a few more: Walt Disney’s animated Peter Pan (1953); Giuseppe Tornatore’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner Cinema Paradiso, with Jacques Perrin and Philippe Noiret; Howard Hawks’ saucy comedy-musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell; George Lucas’ sleeper blockbuster American Graffiti, featuring pre-stardom Richard Dreyfuss and Harrison Ford; and the John Travolta / Olivia Newton-John horror musical Grease, made even more frightening as it’ll be a sing-along presentation. Oscars Outdoors runs through August 24.

The 2013 Oscars Outdoors schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, June 5 KCRW’s “Matt’s Movies”: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (2013), featuring a post-screening Q&A with Joss Whedon, Amy Acker, Alexis Denisoff, Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Sean Maher
  • Thursday, June 6 TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM (2013) Q&A with director and cast
  • Friday, June 14 NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION (1983)
  • Saturday, June 15 PETER PAN (1953)
  • Friday, June 21 L.A. STORY (1991)
  • Saturday, June 22 BEETLEJUICE (1988)
  • Friday, June 28 WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962)
  • Saturday, June 29 GROUNDHOG DAY (1993)
  • Friday, July 12 CLUELESS (1995)
  • Saturday, July 13 KING KONG (1933)
  • Friday, July 19 POINT BREAK (1991)
  • Saturday, July 20 BIG (1988), featuring Zoltar and giant keyboard
  • Saturday, July 20 SHORT TERM 12 (2013)
  • Friday, July 26 BLAZING SADDLES (1974)
  • Sunday, July 28 KCRW Summer Nights: STYLE WARS (1983), featuring KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez
  • Friday, August 2 AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973), featuring classic cars
  • Saturday, August 3 GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953)
  • Friday, August 9 SAFETY LAST (1923)
  • Saturday, August 10 MONSOON WEDDING (2001)
  • Friday, August 16 BORN IN EAST L.A. (1987)
  • Saturday, August 17 RUSHMORE (1998)
  • Friday, August 23 GREASE (1978) sing-along
  • Saturday, August 24 CINEMA PARADISO (1988)

Tickets will be available beginning Wednesday, May 22, at, where you can also find more information about the screenings. Tickets to each Oscars Outdoors screening are $5 for the public; free for children 10 years and younger; and $3 for Academy members and students with ID. Seating is unreserved. The Academy Hollywood campus is located at 1341 Vine Street in Hollywood. For additional information call (310) 247-3600.

Oscars Outdoors photo: Richard Harbaugh / © A.M.P.A.S.

Nathan Fillion in Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing photo: Lionsgate Pictures.

George Brent
George Brent.

George Brent & Bette Davis among Warner Bros. stars forgetting lines & facing on-set mishaps

The Warner Bros. outtakes from the studio’s 1939 and 1940 productions (see below) feature a whole array of movie stars and supporting players not getting things quite right while the cameras were rolling. Perhaps the biggest “star” – i.e., the one featured the most – in the montage is George Brent, who curses right and left after not getting his lines right in several scenes. But not to worry; “son of a bitch” is the strongest exclamation we get to hear. (I’m assuming stronger fare is to be found in the outtakes’ outtakes.)

Besides George Brent, the Warner Bros. bloopers montage has Paul Muni joking around while forgetting his lines during the making of We Are Not Alone; Miriam Hopkins having her dramatic moment in The Old Maid ruined by a young maid (as in housemaid) who trips and lands face first on the floor; and a blonde Jane Wyman unable to remember her goddamned line.

Pat O’Brien’s flying toupee & other Warner Bros. mishaps

Pat O’Brien is another frequent presence in the outtakes. While filming Torrid Zone opposite Ann Sheridan (whose voice you hear, feeding him lines), O’Brien complains “son of a bitch, with this cigar I’ve swallowed eighteen mouthfuls.” Later on, opposite George Brent, O’Brien swallows another mouthful while filming (I believe) ‘Til We Meet Again. The result is a hoarse delivery of the fateful question, “Seen him around where?” And it’s Pat O’Brien’s toupee that goes flying at one point.

In addition to George Brent, Pat O’Brien, Miriam Hopkins, Jane Wyman, and Paul Muni, among the other actors featured in the montage are Joel McCrea and Brenda Marshall in Espionage Agent, Merle Oberon and Binnie Barnes (rolling her “r’s”) in ‘Til We Meet Again, Ann Sheridan at some sort of Dodge City promo, Flora Robson and Jane Bryan in We Are Not Alone, Priscilla Lane, Eric Blore, May Robson, Humphrey Bogart, Marie Wilson, Thomas Mitchell, Allen Jenkins, Ronald Reagan, Alan Hale, clumsy cowboy Dick Foran, and James Cagney dancing with George Raft and George Bancroft during the making of Each Dawn I Die.

Curiously missing from the mis-proceedings are Warner Bros. stars Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and Edward G. Robinson.

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